An Overview of Quantum Key Distribution Protocols

Anastasija Trizna, Andris Ozols


Quantum key distribution (QKD) is the objects of close attention and rapid progress due to the fact that once first quantum computers are available – classical cryptography systems will become partially or completely insecure. The potential threat to today’s information security cannot be neglected, and efficient quantum computing algorithms already exist. Quantum cryptography brings a completely new level of security and is based on quantum physics principles, comparing with the classical systems that rely on hard mathematical problems. The aim of the article is to overview QKD and the most conspicuous and prominent QKD protocols, their workflow and security basement. The article covers 17 QKD protocols and each introduces novel ideas for further QKD system improvement.


CV-QKD; DI-QKD; DV-QKD; MDI-QKD; public cryptography QKD; QKD; quantum cryptography

Full Text:



P. Shor, “Algorithms for Quantum Computation: Discrete Logarithms and Factoring”, in Proc. 35th Annu. Symp. on Foundations of Computer Science, Santa Fe, NM, USA, 1994.

B. Qi, L. Qian, H-K. Lo, “A brief introduction of quantum cryptography for engineers”, 2010.

ETSI, “Quantum Safe Cryptography and Security”, White Paper No. 8, June 2015.

L. Grover, “A fast quantum mechanical algorithm for database search,” in Proc. of 28th ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, ACM Press, New York, NY, 1996, pp. 212–219.

DelftX, “The Quantum Internet and Quantum Computers: How Will They Change the World”, QTM1x Lecture notes, 2018.

W. Heisenberg, “The Physical Content of Quantum Kinematics and Mechanics,” in J. A. Wheeler, and W. H. Zurek, Eds., Quantum Theory and Measurement, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1927, pp. 62–84.

A. Einstein, B. Podolsky, N. Rosen, “Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?”, Phys. Rev. vol. 47, May 1935.

W. K. Wootters, W. H. Zurek, “A Single Quantum Cannot Be Cloned”, Nature, vol. 299, pp. 802–803, 1982.

D. Wang, J. Wu, X. Yi, “Optical Quantum Computing”, in 11th International Conference on Natural Computation (ICNC), Zhangjiajie, China, 2015.

Quintessence labs, “Quantum Key Distribution Systems Compared”, White Paper #2, December 2014.

C. H. Bennett, and G. Brassard, “Quantum Cryptography: Public Key Distribution and Coin Tossing,” in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computers, Systems, and Signal Processing, Bangalore, 10–12 December, 1984, pp. 175–179.

A. K. Ekert, “Quantum cryptography based on Bell's theorem”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 67, August 1991.

C. H. Bennett, F. Bessette, G. Brassard, L. Salvail and J. Smolin, “Experimental Quantum Cryptography”, in Journal of Cryptology, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 3–28, 1992.

C. H. Bennett, “Quantum cryptography using any two non-orthogonal states”, Phys. Rev. vol. 68, pp. 3121–3124, 1992.

K. Inoue, E. Waks, and Y. Yamamoto, “Differential-phase-shift quantum key distribution using coherent light”, Physical Review A., vol. 68, 2003.

H. Bechmann-Pasquinucci, N. Gisin, “Incoherent and coherent eavesdropping in the six-state protocol of quantum cryptography”, Phys. Rev. A. vol. 59, no. 6, pp. 4238–4248, 1999.

W.-Y. Hwang, “Quantum key distribution with high loss: toward global secure communication”, Physical Review Letters, vol. 91, 2003.

V. Scarani, A. Acin, G. Ribordy, and N. Gisin, “Quantum cryptography protocols robust against photon number splitting attacks for weak laser pulses implementations”, Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 92, 057901, 2002.

M. M. Khan, M. Murphy, and A. Beige, “High error-rate quantum key distribution for long distance communication”, New J. Phys., vol. 11, 2009.

D. Stucki, S. Fasel, N. Gisin, Y. Thoma, and H. Zbinden, “Coherent one-way quantum key distribution”, 2007.

M. Lucamarini, K. A. Patel, J. F. Dynes, B. Fröhlich, A. W. Sharpe, A. R. Dixon, Z. L. Yuan, R. V. Penty, and A. J. Shields, “Efficient decoy-state quantum key distribution with quantified security”, Optics Express, vol. 21, no. 21, pp. 24550–24565, 2013.

A. A. Abushgra and K. M. Elleithy, “A Shared Secret Key Initiated by EPR Authentication and Qubit Transmission Channels”, in IEEE Access, vol. 5, pp. 17753–17763, 2017.

Y. Mu, J. Seberry, and Y. Zheng, “Shared Cryptographic Bits Via Quantized Quadrature Phase Amplitudes of Light”, in Optical Communications, vol. 123, pp. 344–352, 1996.

N. Gisin, G. Ribordy, H. Zbinden, D. Stucki, N. Brunner, and V. Scarani, “Towards practical and fast quantum cryptography”, 2004.

D. Mayers, A. Yao, “Quantum Cryptography with Imperfect Apparatus”, in Proc. of the 39th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, 1998, p. 503.

H.-K. Lo, M. Curty, and B. Qi, “Measurement-Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution,” Physical Review Letters, vol. 108, no. 13, Mar. 2012.

E. Esteban, H. Serna, “Quantum Key Distribution protocol with private-public key”, May 2012

E. H. Serna, “Quantum Key Distribution from a random seed”, Nov. 2013.

C. Branciard, N. Gisin, B. Kraus, and V. Scarani, “Security of two quantum cryptography protocols using the same four qubit states”, Phys. Rev. A., vol. 72, 2005.

DOI: 10.7250/itms-2018-0005


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Anastasija Trizna, Andris Ozols

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.